Once your treatment with braces, Brius or Invisalign® is complete, it’s time to retain your smile! You’ll receive a custom retainer, printed by our very own 3D printer, or by Invisalign to ensure that you keep your beautiful new smile for years to come.

When you’re moving into the final phase of your treatment, Dr. Matsumoto will tell you everything you need to know about wearing your retainer and caring for your retainer.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about retainers!

woman with sunglasses reveals her braces for adults with a smile

What does a retainer do?

Your retainer holds your teeth in their final position to solidify your beautiful results. 

Once your treatment is complete and your teeth no longer have the support of your braces or clear aligners, your teeth are at an increased risk of “relapsing” or shifting back to their original pre-treatment position.

Your retainer plays the key role of preventing orthodontic relapse and providing continued support for your new smile while your teeth, bone and gums stabilize after active treatment.

Types of Retainers

There are two main types of retainerspermanent retainers (fixed retainers) and removable retainers.

Fixed or Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are bonded (or cemented) to the teeth. These retainers include a small metal wire, custom-designed to fit behind the teeth. They’re generally bonded to the back surface of the bottom teeth, but can also be used behind the top teeth depending on your condition.

Typically, fixed retainers will remain in place for a lifetime to ensure that your teeth don’t shift out of alignment.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers can be taken out of your mouth and placed back in as needed. The main types of removable retainers are Hawley retainers and Essix retainers. 

The Hawley retainer has metal wires with an acrylic center that sits in the roof of the mouth. An Essix retainer is similar to Invisalign; it’s a clear retainer made of plastic, custom-made to cover the front and back surfaces of the teeth.

How often do I wear my retainer?

Right after your braces or Invisalign treatment, you’ll be instructed to wear your retainer for 24 hours. Wear it through the day and night, only taking it out to eat, brush and floss your teeth. After about 6 months, you’ll be able to reduce your wear to nights only!

We know 6 months sounds like a long time, but think of it this way—wearing your retainer is far more convenient than undergoing another orthodontic treatment in the future. Wearing your retainer after braces, Brius or Invisalign will prevent your teeth from relapsing, so you can still love your smile 10 years from now.

Have questions about retainers?

We’re here to answer your questions, and we want you to know your options!

Dr. Matsumoto and our experienced team are here to guide you, so you can experience a positive treatment process while you achieve your perfect smile.

Ready to get started? Request your complimentary consultation at our convenient Porters Neck office in Wilmington, NC today!